Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 3, NO. 5 / SEPTEMBER 1984



This program lets you change all four colors on every scan line in pictures drawn with most graphics programs that use Mode E, Atari's high-resolution four-color mode.  It works on all Atari computers, but requires a disk drive. Antic Disk Subscribers: Remove BASIC. From DOS. Type L [RETURN] then type PAINTER.EXE.

You've been painting with tools like your KoalaPad or Micro-Painter for some time now, and you've pushed the programs to the limit.  You're tired of having only four colors available!  What can you do?
   Fortunately, here's Philip Price's Color Picture Painter, a program allowing you to systematically replace all four colors in each scan tine of your pictures-with any of the 128 colors available on the Atari. (Scan lines are the horizontal lines traced by the electron beam of your picture tube.  Each scan line represents a fraction of a picture you have created on your Atari.)
   Price's Painter loads an uncompressed Mode E file, (called Mode 7 1/2 on older 400s and 800s or Graphics Mode 15 on the XL computers), and then allows you to choose from 16 colors and eight degrees of brightness for each of the four colors used in the original drawing.  You use the joystick to color one scan line at a time, or to color entire vertical bands at once.
   When you are finished the painter stores the original picture and the four color "pots" that you've created.  The five files are separate, and are combined only when you run the painter program.
   Price's painter works with files created by Micro-Painter, and Micro lllustrator, (available with the KoalaPad, Atari's Touch Tablet, Tech Sketch's Lightpen and Chalkboard's PowerPad).  Incidentally, if you are using the Touch Tablet, you will need to save your initial file in the uncompressed 62 sector mode by hitting the [INSERT] key while the picture is on your monitor.  The file will be named "PICTURE." and you will need to go into DOS and rename the file "FILENAME.PIC".
   It's easy to get started coloring ...

Painter is a machine language program that's produced by the BASIC program accompanying this article Type in the listing, and SAVE an extra backup copy.  Next, RUN this program.  The screen will go dark for several minutes so the computer can read the data faster.  If you made a typing error, the program will stop and display the number of a line you need to retype correctly-so TYPO isn't needed.  When the screen turns blue again, press [RETURN] to write the machine language program named PAINTER.EXE to disk.
   Remove your BASIC cartridge (XL owners press [OPTION] while booting DOS) before using Painter.  Load PAINTER.EXE from DOS with menu option L. If you wish to have the program load automatically upon booting use DOS menu option E to rename the file to AUTORUN.SYS, and make sure DOS.SYS exists on the disk.
   When painter starts, you will be asked which file to load.  The file disk must be in drive 1, and the filename extender must be PIC.  Don't use backspace or cursor controls, since the program will only accept a maximum of eight keystrokes before going to screen.  Use DOS to rename files if necessary.  Type in the name of the file you had previously created with say, Micro-Painter.  After the picture loads, you'll see it on screen with the default colors, the colors used in your original drawing.  If you didn't use all four colors when making your original, some pots will be black, but they can be colored with Painter.

Plug a joystick into Port 1. Press the fire button while pushing forward or backward on the stick to position the arrows on either side of the screen.  Release the button and move the joystick from side to side to select the color, move forward and backward to change a color's intensity.  Note that you're in point mode (see the line at the top of the screen); this means that you will color one line at a time.
   If you have trouble seeing the thin horizontal line's color, look at the top of the screen to see the color changes is a wider area. If you want to color larger areas, press [ESC], then [SELECT] to switch to brush mode, and push the stick forward and backward to paint large areas with the currently selected color.  Press [ESC], then [SELECT] again to return to point mode.

You have a palette of four pots, based on the four colors of your original file.  The palette is the field of colors in a given pot, without the structured picture.  To change the pot whose colors you're modifying, press [SELECT].  TO switch back and forth between the picture and the palette, press [OPTION].  You can review the colors you're using without seeing the picture by switching to the palette, then using [SELECT] to move through the four pots.

Press the [START] key to save the pots, but not the picture file.  According to Philip Price, the program occasionally locks up when you press [START], necessitating rebooting.  The program saves four files representing the four pots.  Checking your disk directory, you'll see them called FILENAME.P0, P1, P2, and P3, with FILENAME replaced by the filename you originally typed in.  If you have the original file and the four pots on the same disk, and don't change any filenames, the next time you load the picture into Painter, the four pots will also be loaded.
   If you wish to work on a different picture, you must reload the entire program and start again from the beginning.

Philip Price taught himself programming while serving at sea with the US Navy.  He took his discharge in Hawaii and worked near Hilo as a computer technician.  Now he's teamed with Gary Gilbertson and their major new graphics adventure game, The Alternate Reality Series is due for release by Marsten Systems this fall.

Listing: PAINTER.EXE Download